The Wisconsin election on April 7 was just the latest battle in a yearslong war between state Republican and Democrat officials. Even when Wisconsin Republicans receive fewer votes than Democrats, they’ve maintained their grasp on most levers of state government through gerrymandering

Wisconsin was the test tube baby of project REDMAP, a lavishly funded GOP initiative to win state legislatures in 2010 and then gerrymander Democrats into oblivion. Republican legislators—relying on the work of operatives like Thomas Hofeller—engaged in a process called “packing and cracking,” cramming Democrats into blue districts, then distributing the rest throughout red districts. As a result, in 2012, Republicans won less than half the state’s votes for Congress but claimed five out of eight congressional seats. They still have a lock on all five seats, as only one district—the 7th, which leans Democratic—is actually competitive.

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